The Uttar Pradesh government has decided to challenge the 1987 Hashimpura massacre case verdict in the Delhi high Court, almost three months after a city court gave benefit of doubt and acquitted 16 former PAC personnel accused of killing 48 Muslims in Meerut.
"We expect the appeal will be filed on May 22 or May 25," additional advocate general Zafaryab Jilani told PTI after a meeting of Muslim leaders here with ruling Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Jeelani said that a draft of the appeal has already been sent to the concerned lawyers in Delhi and the appeal will be filed immediately after getting their opinion.
"The state government wants to file the petition as soon as possible. Therefore, all efforts are on to ensure that it is filed before May 29, that is, before the court closes for summer recess," he said.
The decision comes in the wake of various Muslim organisations, including All India Muslim Personal Law Board and Jamiat-Ulama-e-Hind, asking the UP government to challenge the verdict of a Delhi court.
Muslims account for 16% of the electorate in the state and are considered a significant vote bank.
Elections for the 403-member Assembly are due in early 2017 and Muslim voters can make or mar the electoral prospects of the ruling Samajwadi Party, who came to power last time riding on Muslim votes.
Additional sessions judge Sanjay Jindal in his March 21 judgement acquitted the 16 provincial armed constabulary personnel of charges related to the killing 42 Muslims who were picked up from a village in Meerut, giving them benefit of doubt for want of evidence.